Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Restores Hope for Amanda

If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going… LP Spinal Procedure



“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”–Winston Churchill


Imagine a migraine headache combined with continuous vomiting, feverish sweats, zero energy, a swollen face and eyes, vivid outlandish dreams, an IV canular in my wrist with a 24 hour drip and fluids being pumped into my vein, and not being able to raise up from a lying position for three long days and three longer nights.  This is how I spent my last weekend.  Mum’s care was 24-7 round the clock.  I couldn’t have pulled through without Mum.



At 11:30 am I was rolled into the operating theater on a gurney.  I had been informed that I was having a lumbar puncture spinal procedure, and from past experience I knew that my recovery could be tough.   As I lay on the narrow operating table fully cognizant, breathing deeply and trying to calm my thoughts, I asked Opi to show me the Om symbol.  He turned on the overhead theater light and a yellow Om was cast on the ceiling above through tiny holes pierced into the light’s molding.  I rehearsed a silent prayer in my mind for Dr. Ashish’s precision and a successful procedure with fruitful results.  Only in an Indian hospital would a pretty nurse named Shiny Angel say “Pray to God Amanda.  You will be healthy.”


I lay in a tightly curled fetal position on my left side for over an hour.  Dr. Ashish attempted to puncture my cord at the thoracic level but was unsuccessful.  Instead he proceeded to inject stem cells deeply into the spinal muscles around my cord.  I felt needles of local anesthetic pin-prick my spine all the way down to the lumbar region.  Next he performed a second deep spinal muscle procedure into my lower lumbar area.  Tears began to well in my eyes.  I lay perfectly still afraid to let any of the blue-angel operating technicians hovering over my body be aware that I was crying.  My nose dripped like a faucet into my sleeve.  The pain was too much to bear.  Finally Dr. Ashish inserted the needle into the lumber spinal cord below my injury level puncturing the dura, the tough fibrous membrane surrounding the spinal cord, and tapping the cerebral spinal fluid.  Success.  He pumped several syringes of millions and millions of stem cells into the recesses of my cord.  Dr. Ashish explained I had a triple dosage to jump-start my body into wellness so that it can show the maximum improvements.  For wellness to take place, first I had to endure the pain, torture and repercussions of such an invasive procedure.  My body went into shock.


Leave it up to a beautiful woman to colorfully decorate a hospital.  Dr. Shroff is not only brilliant she also has an eye for design.  As I lay with my head downhill and my head splitting in pain, I could still appreciate my lime green and purple floral sheets, yellow painted walls, and purple curtains dotted with silver stars.  It was the noise that became almost intolerable.  At the crack of dawn the Hindu temple at the end of the alley sounds a waking horn followed by loud droning clanging of bells and drums.  Within a span of five minutes from 5:30 am to 5:35 am I heard bells, prayers, a cow moooooooooo, a pack of dogs howl, and crows squawking a monotonous song.  This was all followed by loud hammering behind my head on the other side of the wall.  Welcome to a new day at Gautam Nagar.  As the hours clocked on, the noise grew louder and my headache never improved.  Motorcycles revved their engines, children screamed and laughed in the park, and men yelled at the tops of their lungs in a cricket match that lasted until darkness.  Every time the ball would hit the bat the men would erupt in cheers hooting and hollering at their win or loss.  All this pandemonium ensued while I lay feeling like I was going to die.  I’d roll on to my side hugging a silver kidney-shaped bowl and puke…over and over and over.  Mum was on twenty-four hour duty helping me pee, swabbing my forehead with a cold cloth, and making sure I didn’t fall out of bed every time I turned over.  My nurses were angels in the day and the night.  I had entered into such a vicious cycle I thought there was no end in sight.


After three nights of hell, I willed myself to sit up in bed.  I shook, I felt dizzy, I wanted to throw up some more but I pulled through and crossed my threshold.  My headache finally dulled and I could sip a cup of hot tea and keep it down.  Mum cut up tiny squares of apple and I chewed each cube several times before I swallowed.  I was on the mend.  I was going “home”, even if it meant dragging my body back to Green Park. 



Three days later I am still fatigued.  Dr. Ashish and Dr. Shroff were so thrilled with my response to the surgery.  Contrary to my shock at how horribly I had taken the surgery, they encouraged me with their usual optimism hoping that the bad will bring nothing but good and even great results.  The proof will be in the pudding.  We’ll wait and see.


Is it all worth it?  I have asked myself this question for many months, especially in my weakest and darkest moments.  I am tenacious–this I know for sure.  I have the will and determination to see my journey through.  I am committed and I am eternally grateful for all that I have accomplished thus far.  I will continue to live each moment at a time, opening myself to vast blue sky of possibility for my future. 


I have concluded that acceptance must coexist with hope.  And I have both.  After my accident I couldn’t help but ponder “why me?”  Over the years I’ve arrived at a similar thought process as this quote suggests by the American poet and writer W. H. Auden:

“The so-called traumatic experience is not an accident, but the opportunity for which the child has been patiently waiting—had it not occurred, it would have found another, equally trivial—in order to find a necessity and direction for its existence, in order that its life may become a serious matter.”   

Did my soul choose me, and thus my destiny?  While I’m still not sure what my destiny is, I know that by listening to my heart’s whisper, my gut intuition, or my divine inner-knowingness, I am living my destiny every moment of every day.  Could I have altered what happened on that fateful day seventeen years ago?  No.  I believe not.  If it wasn’t a skiing accident, I strongly believe it would have been some other life-altering incident. 

As I reach across my blue and white striped sheets to turn the dim fluorescent light off I ponder, was this past week about my fate or my destiny? 


“Fate is what happens to us that is beyond our control.

Destiny, on the other hand, is something that we have control over, and is defined by the choices we make between now and the last breath we take. 

It is the course of events in our everyday life determined by us.”

Doorway to Your Destiny by Jody Stevenson


A beautiful friend recently sent this quote written above attached to her email.  I thought is so apropos and I don’t think Lydia would mind me sharing her encouraging words…


“I thought of you as you embark on the path to your destiny – the choices, decisions, actions.  I send my prayers to you and your Mom. May God continue to hold you in the cradle of love as you receive the healing power of stem cells as they dance through you, giggling and joyful in their service to you.”


Thank you Lydia.  Thank you Dr. Shroff, Dr. Ashish, my nurses, my amazing friends at home, and mostly thank you Mum.  I love you so much.




Amanda xoxo


  Sonia wrote @

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
Ella Fitzgerald

Namaste beautiful!

  Kim from Australia wrote @

Well done, Amanda, getting through that!
I hope now your over the worst from that Spinal Puncture, you see and feel some positive results from the stem cells. The updates are great.
You go girl 🙂

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